Spring started this week.
Spring started this week. While I do try to live my everyday life in a state of attentiveness, a honed in searching for beauty, I admit that as winter fades to spring, I find my senses heightened. It’s almost like I am craving the colors that only spring creates. As long as I am being honest, I actually really like winter. I came to the realization this year that winter and I have a commonality, a secret understanding. As an introvert, winter calls me to cozy up-to nestle in. I love the Danish concept of ‘hygge’ which requires an attention to making a space feel cozy. Insert fuzzy blankets, twinkly lights, fireplaces, warm tea, snuggles, sweaters, etc. I discovered this notion last winter, and it changed how I feel about the season. There is so much beauty to celebrate inside. During the winter-searching for sparks of beauty and wonder in nature requires a bit more attention. Where I live in Michigan, we often have big, sparkly, beautiful snow-but we also often have dark, brown, cold. Finding beauty outside requires an awareness, a seeking, and a slowing. Rushing in from the cold with your head down will not allow you to see beauty. You have to bundle up, and set out with your eyes scanning-and it will be there, but you have to look. It’s a discipline, it requires practice. As winter fades to spring here in the Midwest, I find my senses heightened. Perhaps it is from the practice of searching for beauty during the dull drab days of winter, perhaps it is desire for the waters of spring beauty that quench a thirst that appears each March 21. From my window today, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, but the ground appears mostly brown, covered in twigs and leaves from last fall. The temperatures are still in the 40’s. But, if I get closer, and really look, there are splashes of color appearing slowly. Buds on some of the trees are growing and turning a darker shade of red. The tulips, crocus, and daffodils are emerging from the ground-reaching their faces towards the spring sunshine. The world is waking up. In a few weeks, it will be easy to spot beauty-bright flowers, buds, grass and leaves. But for now, for today I challenge you to go outside without distractions (might you even leave your phone inside?), and really look. I recently came upon the concept of a ‘sit spot’ in nature. (I cannot recall where I read it, but a quick google search brings up a plethora of options) The idea is to pick a spot close to home, easy to get to, that you will sit in each day for 10-20 minutes. By sitting in the same location each day, you get to know that space and therefore notice as things change day by day, season by season. Perhaps this practice will hone our ability to notice the beauty as our surroundings change outside of that space. When you get to know your sit spot, you become familiar with the tiny details-blades of grass, bark of trees, beautiful beetles. It’s not just the large scale bed of red tulips or blooming forsythia tree, you notice the small, seemingly ordinary things-that actually hold great beauty.